Florida’s midweek woes continue against Jacksonville

Florida can’t seem to figure it out during the midweek. The Gators are now 3-4 in such games after coming up short, 7-6, against the Jacksonville Dolphins on Tuesday night.

Another rough first inning plagued the Gators as Ryan Slater allowed two runs on a pair of singles and two walks. Fisher Jameson took over in the second and delivered a clean inning, but he gave up a run in the third, leading Kevin O’Sullivan back to the bullpen.

Left-hander Robert Satin walked the only batter he faced, and Grayson Smith ended the half-inning with a strikeout. Florida finally got on the board in the bottom of the frame, though, striking for four runs and taking a 4-3 lead.

Jac Caglianone hit his eighth home run of the year to start the barrage, and Tyler Shelnut picked up where he left off this weekend with a two-RBI double to right center.

Smith gave up the lead almost immediately in the fourth. A pair of RBI singles put the Dolphins back out in front, and Florida failed to capitalize in a first-and-third situation with no outs in the bottom of the inning. Credit to Jacksonville there for managing the staff well. Starter Blake Barquin was beginning to struggle, and Dylan Faulkner shut things down in a tense spot.

Faulkner ended up getting the win for Jacksonville as both offenses settled down. Luke McNeillie struck and Alex Philpott both kept the lead from growing into the ninth.

Philpott ran out of gas in the ninth, allowing two men to reach on singles with only one out. Left-handed freshman Frank Menendez came in to get out of the jam, but he gave up three singles and a pair of crucial runs. Menendez did record his first strikeout, but he was pulled for Blake Purnell after the runs came in. Purnell struck out Will Gale to keep things from getting any further out of hand.

Florida nearly completed a comeback, but Armando Albert struck out looking with a runner in scoring position to end it. Caglianone homered again earlier in the ninth inning, his ninth of the year and 49th over his career. Landon Russell drove in Luke Heyman to cut the deficit to just one, but that’s where the run ended.

Florida has some really good arms and is a threat to beat any other team in the country in a three-game series, but there are depth questions that need to be addressed on the mound. That crucial fourth starter most College World Series teams have has yet to emerge, but the Gators are getting Pierce Coppola back at some point this year. Maybe he’ll be the answer.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire